From the monthly archives:

October 2006

Haagen Dazs Vanilla Ice Cream Review

by Ice Cream Maker Reviews on October 30, 2006

A long time ago I reviewed Haagen Dazs’ Vanilla Bean Ice Cream (and loved it!). I didn’t realize until recently that I had never reviewed their regular vanilla so I picked some up at the store this weekend. Haagen Dazs Vanilla is very good. It’s extremely dense and smooth. It’s strongly vanilla flavored, but richer than the Haagen Dazs Vanilla Bean Ice Cream. The Vanilla Bean flavor kind of dances around on your tongue, while the regular vanilla just sits there. In general, I’m more of a fan of vanilla bean flavored ice cream than plain vanilla. Like other Haagen Dazs ice cream, there are no gums or artificial ingredients just: Cream, Skim Milk, Sugar, Egg Yolks, and Natural Vanilla. But, also in Haagen Dazs fashion, this one packs in the fat and calories. If you ask me, Haagen Dazs Vanilla Ice Cream is worth it.

  • Flavor: 4.5
  • Flavor Intensity: 4
  • Texture: 5
  • Originality: 1
  • Overall: 4.5
  • Cost: $3.00 (on special at Safeway)

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Edy’s Dibs Crunch Flavor Ice Cream

by Ice Cream Maker Reviews on October 25, 2006

Edy’s Dibs have been heavily marketed and there are often coupons in the Sunday paper. I didn’t want to buy a giant carton because I knew I would get addicted and eat them all in one sitting. Instead I found a small size at 7-11. The small size (4.5 oz) had about 20 pieces in it. There’s really nothing special about Dibs. There pretty much regular ice cream bars in bite size pieces. If you like ice cream bar coating, in this case Crunch bar, you’ll enjoy Dibs. I liked them, but I wouldn’t necessarily buy them again.

  • Flavor: 3.5
  • Flavor Intensity: 3
  • Texture: 3
  • Originality: 4.5
  • Overall: 3

Edy's Crunch Dibs

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Book Review: East Coast Scoops

by Ice Cream Maker Reviews on October 22, 2006

I had never seen a book dedicated to reviews of ice cream shops until I stumbled across East Coast Scoops on Amazon. As far as food guide books go, this one isn’t bad. It reviews 55 shops is 12 states on the East Coast (DC/Maryland and north from there). I was a little disappointed by the lack of coverage for the DC area—just 2 reviews for DC proper, 1 in Silver Spring, and 1 in Bethesda (MD). Each review is a page long and covers: intriguing details about the shop , popular flavors, and administrative details (location, phone, website, etc). There are also 5 “extra scoop” sections with information on the origin of the ice cream cone and a basic history of ice cream. My only complaint is that this book is a little short. I would have liked to see more reviews and recommendations. Nevertheless, this is an excellent choice for the ice cream lover on the East Cost.

East Coast Scoops is written by Megan O. Steintrager and was published in 2005

East Coast Scoops: Finding the Region’s Best Ice Cream Parlors, Gelaterias, and Custard Stands

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Taste Test: Breyers Natural Vanilla Bean with and without Tara Gum

by Ice Cream Maker Reviews on October 16, 2006

Now that the tara gum and other additive controversy has taken hold, I have made a point to check labels when at the supermarket. Not long ago I was at Whole Foods and noticed that their Breyers Natural Vanilla didn’t have tara gum in it. I immediately purchased it. At home I compared it to the Breyers Natural Vanilla I already had in my freezer (with tara gum). The containers look virtually identical (though not quite). However, the expiration date on the more recently purchased ice cream (without tara gum) was 6 months earlier than the date for the container with tara gum. This lead me to conclude that either a) the ice cream I had gotten without tara gum was made before the ice cream with tara gum and had just been distributed later b) the ice cream without tara gum goes bad more quickly than that without and/or c) Whole Foods can still get the ice cream without the tara gum. Quite frankly, I have no idea what the answer is. I can, however, tell you the difference in taste as I tasted them side by side (in a blind taste test so I didn’t initially know which was which).

Breyers with tara gum tastes different than that without. No question. It is creamier, but not it a good way. It has an artificial texture to it. You know when you’re eating the inside of an Oreo or Twinkie and you just know it isn’t natural, it’s got a lard-ish texture, creamy, but in a sticky way. That’s what it feels like– a little sticky. It also tastes slightly less intensely vanilla. I’m not sure if that is because of the tara gum or a new freezing method. Breyers Natural Vanilla with tara gum doesn’t taste like Breyers Natural Vanilla anymore. It reminds me more of the yellow-colored artificial vanilla ice creams. It’s not nearly as bad as those, but it’s not very good. Unilever needs to bring back Breyers Natural Vanilla Bean without tara gum.

From now on I am going to start buying Turkey Hill Vanilla Bean. I don’t know how extensive their distribution is in DC I have only found it at Shoppers. But, it doesn’t have tara gum and tastes much better than the new Breyers. Actually, my top choice for vanilla would be Haagen Dazs Vanilla Bean. Unfortunately, that has too many calories for a daily scoop. What other gum-free vanilla ice cream brands have you found that you would recommend?

The ice cream container on top contains tara gum, the one pictured below it does not.

Two Breyers Natural Vanilla Ice Cream Review Breyers Ice Cream with Tara GumBreyers Ice Cream without tara gum

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McDonald’s Ice Cream Review (17th and R NW, DC)

by Ice Cream Maker Reviews on October 16, 2006

I realized that I have never posted a review of McDonald’s Soft Serve Ice Cream before. Considering there is a McDonald’s right down the street from me (on 17th and R) it’s kind of surprising. So, today I’m reviewing McDonald’s Ice Cream.

McDonald’s seems to be pushing their ice cream more and more. Besides the relatively recent addition of McFlurrys, they also now have Oreo Sundaes, cookie sundaes and a few others. I went for the plain hot fudge sundae on their dollar menu. So, for $1.10, I got a hot fudge sundae and a small bag of peanuts. I found the bag of peanuts particularly interesting. I don’t remember ever getting this before.

The soft serve ice cream at McDonald’s is something I’ve always loved. It’s pretty smooth, it’s creamy, and it’s cheap. The hot fudge is also excellent. I was surprised as sometimes hot fudge really isn’t that good. Overall, it was well worth the trip down the block.

  • Flavor: 4
  • Flavor Intensity: 3
  • Texture: 4
  • Originality: 2.5
  • Overall: 4
  • Price: $1.10

McDonald's McDonald's Peanuts

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Turkey Hill Vanilla Bean Ice Cream Review

by Ice Cream Maker Reviews on October 14, 2006

Turkey Hill Vanilla Bean comes out of Lancaster County, PA. I discovered it at Shopper’s and bought it specifically because it didn’t have any gums or artificial ingredients. I’m glad I bought it. It is spectacular. It’s much lighter and fluffier than most vanilla ice cream (especially compared to Haagen Dazs) but that also means it’s lighter in calories. It’s extremely creamy and I’m their new biggest fan.

  • Flavor: 4.5
  • Flavor Intensity: 4
  • Texture: 4.5
  • Originality: 1
  • Overall: 4.5

Turkey Hill Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

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Pumpkin Ice Cream at York Castle Tropical Ice Cream; Silver Spring, MD

by Ice Cream Maker Reviews on October 13, 2006

One day, while browsing the ice cream books on Amazon.com I came across a book called East Coast Scoops. I’ll post a review of the book another day, but for today let me tell you about one of the ice cream shops in the Maryland section: York Castle Tropical Ice Cream.

York Castle Tropical Ice Cream is located in a small strip mall at the intersection of 16th and Georgia. I’ve driven past the location many times, but would have never guessed an ice cream shop was there without the book. It is easy to miss so be sure to keep your eye out for it. They have exotic tropical flavors like soursop, lychee, and passion fruit. They are also known for the Guinness ice cream. I sampled both the soursop and Guinness before settling on a fall special: pumpkin. The soursop and Guinness were both very good tasting—the Guinness surprised me with how intensely flavored it actually was. But, the pumpkin… The pumpkin was delicious. It was a cool, crisp, fall day and no other flavor could have matched the weather more perfectly. The pumpkin ice cream was extremely spicy (as in spices like nutmeg and cinnamon, not hot peppers). It was also very strongly pumpkin flavored. I may have to try to find a recipe online and make some pumpkin or squash ice cream. According to “East Coast Scoops” Tropical Ice Cream uses as little sugar as possible in their ice cream. You wouldn’t have known by taste of the ice cream. It was very soft and smooth. A little fluffier and less dense. York Castle also carries Jamaican jerk chicken and sodas, which I was too full to try after my ice cream. But, I can definitely say that I will be going back to have a full meal—chicken and ice cream very soon.

  • Flavor: 5
  • Flavor Intensity: 4.5
  • Texture: 4.5
  • Originality: 4.5
  • Cone: 4.5
  • Overall: 4.5

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My Apologies

by Ice Cream Maker Reviews on October 13, 2006

First off, thank you to those who have encouraged me to keep posting, even if it is less frequently. With grad school starting, I really have been extremely busy. And, ice cream is expensive. And I have class at night when I’d usually post. And, well, I’ll stop with the excuses. Ultimately though, I did decide to break in the “daily scoop” goal. I still have ice cream fairly frequently, but not everyday and not always a different flavor.

But, I will start posting my reviews again. I will post some reviews this weekend of flavors I’ve had in recent weeks. And on Monday I’ll post the second article about Breyers “Natural” Vanilla. It will be a taste test of Breyers with and without tara gum.

Thanks for remaining faithful readers.

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